GOP Rep: America "Can't Compete With China" on Clean Energy


Photo Credit: Andreas Demmelbauer via Flickr/CC BY

Today, the Republican representative leading the Solyndra hearings took the Obama administration to task for funding any clean energy projects at all.

"I think the administration is putting taxpayers' money at risk in areas that are not creating jobs," Cliff Stearns (R-FL) said, according to a report from NPR. "We can't compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines."

Wait a minute -- I thought that a jingoistic 'ra-ra, America-is-number-one' attitude was a requirement for joining the GOP. So what -- America's not good enough for renewable energy? We don't have what it takes? Is Stearns saying that we should give up on creating a clean energy industry here in the United States, and leave that messy business of building wind turbines and solar panels to China?

Never mind that analysts continue to forecast clean energy to be one of the most important industries of the coming decades. Never mind that the U.S. already has a fast-growing clean energy sector -- one of the few that has actually grown, and added jobs in the midst of the recession. Never mind that Solyndra accounts for only 1.7% of the DOE's clean energy loans, and that all the other recipients are performing well.

No, because one company went belly-up, let's throw in the towel, Stearn says, and hand the keys over to China. Here's NPR: "[Stearns] says he doesn't believe in any type of subsidy for industry. And, he says, where solar is concerned, it makes more sense to invest in research and development on a technology where the U.S. still has a chance of winning."

That's interesting, the part about Stearns not believing in any type of subsidy for industry. It must have greatly pained him when he voted along with every single one of his GOP colleagues to extend subsidies to the oil industry just a few months ago -- subsidies totaling $21 billion, or nearly 40 times the size of the Solyndra loan.

Ah, Representative Stearns. If you hate subsidies so much, perhaps you'd be so kind to cease hypocritically supporting the mammoth ones that help fossil fuels dominate the energy market -- and then maybe the U.S. would have "a chance of winning" with clean power.

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